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The Optimal Level of International Reserves for Emerging Market Countries; Formulas and Applications

  • Romain Ranciere
  • Olivier D Jeanne

We present a model of the optimal level of international reserves for a small open economy that is vulnerable to sudden stops in capital flows. Reserves allow the country to smooth domestic absorption in response to sudden stops, but yield a lower return than the interest rate on the country's long-term debt. We derive a formula for the optimal level of reserves, and show that plausible calibrations can explain reserves of the order of magnitude observed in many emerging market countries. However, the recent buildup of reserves in Asia seems in excess of what would be implied by an insurance motive against sudden stops.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/229.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/229
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  1. Romain Ranciere & Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann, 2004. "Crises and Growth: A Re-evaluation," UCLA Economics Working Papers 832, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Fernando Broner & Guido Lorenzoni & Sergio Schmuckler, 2006. "Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?," 2006 Meeting Papers 841, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2003. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: What is going on?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 370-400, September.
  4. Pablo García & Claudio Soto, 2004. "Large Hoardings of International Reserves: Are They Worth It?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 299, Central Bank of Chile.
  5. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves; Precautionary vs. Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 05/198, International Monetary Fund.
  7. David Hauner, 2005. "A Fiscal Price Tag for International Reserves," IMF Working Papers 05/81, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-97, June.
  9. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals, and Sudden Stops," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(s1), pages 1-49, June.
  10. repec:bge:wpaper:185 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Ricardo J. Caballero & Stavros Panageas, 2004. "Contingent Reserves Management: An Applied Framework," NBER Working Papers 10786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. repec:rus:hseeco:181565 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The revived Bretton Woods system," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 307-313.
  14. Sebastian Edwards, 2004. "Thirty Years of Current Account Imbalances, Current Account Reversals and Sudden Stops," NBER Working Papers 10276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Christian B. Mulder & Matthieu Bussière, 1999. "External Vulnerability in Emerging Market Economies; How High Liquidity Can Offset Weak Fundamentals and the Effects of Contagion," IMF Working Papers 99/88, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Pablo E. Guidotti & Federico Sturzenegger & Agustín Villar, 2004. "On the Consequences of Sudden Stops," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 171-214, January.
  17. Robert P Flood & Nancy P. Marion, 2002. "Holding International Reserves in an Era of High Capital Mobility," IMF Working Papers 02/62, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Frenkel, Jacob A & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1981. "Optimal International Reserves: A Stochastic Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(362), pages 507-14, June.
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